Scotland’s weather: Fresh alerts for heavy rain and flooding

Communities across Scotland had little respite from flooding in the first days of 2016 as the Met Office issued amber “be prepared” warnings for much of the country in force until 9pm tonight.

Communities across Scotland had little respite from flooding in the first days of 2016 as the Met Office issued amber “be prepared” warnings for much of the country in force until 9pm tonight.

The Met Office warned parts of north-east Scotland could experience offshore waves of up to nine metres – taller than two double-decker buses.

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Residents were on high alert as rivers levels rose and rain continued to fall throughout the night with warnings that as much as 20 centimetres of rain could fall over the weekend until today.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) posted 27 flood warnings on its website and three alerts.

Most were for the Tayside, Angus, and Dundee areas, as well as Aberdeen and Ballater in Aberdeenshire.

The warnings follow severe flooding caused by Storm Frank last week, which left many stranded, in temporary accommodation or without electricity.

The Scottish Government’s resilience committee met yesterday to discuss co-ordinated action with emergency services and relevant agencies ahead of people going back to work after the festive break.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “On the transport network, the main issue continues to be the West Coast and Highland mainlines and the rail industry is doing all it can to get these operational again following Storm Frank.

“While the repairs are being carried out diversionary rail routes and shuttle bus services will continue to be used.

“On the trunk roads, our operating companies remain alert to the conditions and we are monitoring the network from our control centre in South Queensferry.”

Vincent Fitzsimons, Sepa’s hydrology duty manager, said: “Rivers have been rising since Saturday and flood warnings have been issued.

“It’s important to note that the rain is less intense but more prolonged than during Storm Frank.

“This means that rivers will rise more slowly but then stay high for much longer - from Sunday through till Tuesday. The peak for most areas will be on Sunday night and Monday morning.”

Mr Fitzsimons added that river levels in the north-east were of most concern, including those around Kintore, Inverurie, Brechin and Aberdeen, but that the agency was also keeping a close eye on communities in the Borders and Caithness.

In Ballater, which was particularly badly hit after the River Dee burst its banks, residents continued the major clean-up.

RNLI volunteers were called out on Saturday night to help reconnect the town’s electricity supplies.

Despite ferocious weather conditions, Aberdeen RNLI volunteers Bill Deans and Calum Reed used some 
rockets to fire a power line across the River Dee at the Cambus O’May on the A93.

Scottish Hydro engineers then connected up wires to restore the electricity supply.

Last night, Eddie Henderson, caretaker at Ballater’s Alexandra Hotel, said farmers using tractors to help shift one-tonne sandbags.

“We’ve all been waiting for high-tide at Aberdeen at around 1pm today to see if the River Dee would rise again but so far it seems to have gone by without incident.

“My stepson Alan McCorquodale and his wife Fi who own the hotel had to be evacuated by boat.

“I’ve seen lorries from 
Aberdeen arriving with sand bags and farmers bringing their tractors to help shift them.

“I was speaking to a council worker who said some of them had given up their holidays to help with the clean-up.”

The Invercauld Bridge, on the A93 Aberdeen to Ballater route, was damaged by the extreme weather and it is expected to be closed for a number of weeks.